Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901

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William Smithson Newlon

DR. WILLIAM SMITHSON NEWLON, a portrait of whom accompanies this sketch, is widely known as a member of the medical profession of Labette county, Kansas, where he resides in the city of Oswego.

Dr. NewIon was born near Paris, Illinois, in 1830, and is a son of Hiram Newlon. His great-great-grandfather went from Scotland or England to the North of Ireland, and, then came across the ocean to the continent of North America. In 1680, with William Penn, he located at Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He returned to Europe, and again came to this country in 1700. The family name has been spelled Newland, Newlin, and Newlon.

John Newlon, grandfather of the subject hereof, was a resident of Liberty, Virginia, and an uncle, or cousin, of Mrs. Dolly Madison, wife of President Madison. - she being a niece of the wife of the famous Patrick Henry. John Newlon moved to Salem, Indiana, and was a friend of James Smithson, founder of the Smithsonian Institute, and from whom comes the middle name of Dr. Newlon. John Newlon was also related to Elijah Newland, Democratic state treasurer of Indiana, and the latter was a relative of W. De Pauw, founder of De Pauw University, of Indiana.

Hiram Newlon, the Doctor's father, was united in matrimony with, Margaret Melissa Field, daughter of John Field, an early settler of Louisville, Kentucky, and a relative of General Field, of Virginia, Judge Field, of the supreme court of Louisiana, and of Governor Rector, of Arkansas. She was a niece of Wade Hampton, Sr., who was related to the great John Hampden and Oliver Cromwell. She was also a cousin of Governor Shortridge, of Alabama, and Governor Eli Shortridge, of North Dakota. The ancestors of Dr. Newlon were all Southerners, originally, and were slaveholders.

Dr. W. S. Newlon received a common school and academic education, after which he was engaged in teaching, for four years. He then studied medicine and pharmacy, under his brothers, Doctors J. F. and B. F. Newlon, of Dallas, Illinois, and in 1853 went overland to California and engaged in mining. He assisted in the effort to make John C. Fremont president in 1856, and then returned to Dallas, Illinois, where he married Maria Wimp, in 1857. He purchased a large tract of land at Newlon's Grove, Cass county, Iowa, and engaged in farming, also taking an active part in politics. He was elected justice of the peace and county superintendent of schools. He was the Republican county central committeeman, and assisted in raising the 4th Reg., Iowa Vol. Inf., to repel several threatened Rebel invasions. He organized the first Union League in the United States, and was elected lieutenant in a company of Iowa militia. He attended a regular course of lectures and graduated from the Iowa University (Keokuk branch) of Physicians and Surgeons, in 1863. He practiced medicine and pharmacy four years, at Dallas, Illinois, and served as president of the city school board. He helped to raise several regiments of Illinois troops and provide them with sanitary supplies. He originated a branch of what is now the C. B. & Q. R. R., running through Dallas, Illinois.

Dr. Newlon moved to Oswego, Kansas, on Indian lands, in 1867, and engaged in the practice of medicine and pharmacy. He became one of the town site company, and was elected its treasurer. He became a charter member of the Congregational church and helped to build a house of worship and a parsonage. He was first secretary, and then president and superintendent of the Oswego school board, and helped to build the first schoolhouse. He was a charter member of Adams Lodge, A. F. & A. M., and Oswego Chapter, No. 15, R. A. M., and was elected first warden of the former and high priest of the latter. He was first vice-president, and afterward president, of the Labette County Medical Society. He helped to perform the first amputation of a thigh in the county, with a bowie knife and butcher's saw, and it was successful. He was for several years chairman of the Prohibition central committee, and was the candidate of that gallant little party for the county treasurership and for congress. He was also a candidate on that ticket for presidential elector. When the great "exodus" began to be felt in Kansas, and the aforetime slaves commenced to come in large numbers, Dr. Newlon was appointed physician and manager of the 1,000 Freedmen newly arrived. The work ran through several years, and was a great tax on the pocket and health of the manager. Dr. Newlon made daily meteorological observations, for several years, at Oswego. He collected the indigenous plants of Southern Kansas for the Centennial Exposition, in 1876. He made geological and ichthyological reports of the county to the government. He observed the flight and habits of birds for several years, and the food and habits of the English sparrow, for the United States Department of Agriculture. He made many geological surveys and tours in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, and the Indian Territory. He collected insects, cryptogams, fishes, reptiles, crustaceans, and myriopods for Washburn College, at Topeka, Kansas. He made a biological survey of Kansas, and made many investigations of Southern Kansas archaeology. He found several fossil cephalopods, new to science, and several insects, crustaceans, plants and new fishes. He wrote an early paper for The Medical Journal on the screw fly. He was one of the first to write papers and impute a germ origin to disease; he also traced consumption and other maladies to germs. These imputations were published in the St. Louis Medical and Surgical Journal and the Peoria Medical Journal, at the time. He discovered and published the virtue of, and introduced into medical practice, Sabbatia Camp. Elephantopus, Helianthus Org., Grindelia Lan., Symphoricarpus Vulg. and Vesicaria. He was elected entomologist of the Labette County Horticultural Society, and gave many lectures on orchard pests. He has published many papers on scientific and medical subjects, and is in correspondence with the leading scientists of the United States. Health failing him, he has engaged in limited practice in his profession, in addition to which he publishes a little scientific paper known as The Golden Rod. Dr. Newlon has a large library of books and a geological, entomological and conchological collection.

He was united in marriage, in 1857, with Maria Wimp, who died in 1871, leaving four children: Dr. C. S. Newlon, of Winfield, Kansas; Mrs. Grace Campbell, of Wichita; Mrs. Dr. C. N. Bush; and Mrs. Dr. J. Laws, of Chetopa, Kansas. Dr. C. S. Newlon is superintendent of one of the grandest institutions of the state of Kansas, the State Asylum for Idiotic and Imbecile Youth, at Winfield. This institution is in a flourishing condition, and reflects great credit upon the superintendent.

Dr. NewIon formed a second union by wedding Mrs. M. L. Stevens widow of Colonel Samuel Stevens, who fell before Petersburg, Virginia. She had one son by her first marriage, Judge F. F. Stevens, of Waukomis, Oklahoma. Dr. and Mrs. Newlon became the parents of two children: W. B., who graduated from the Kansas City (Kansas) Medical College with high honors; and John Smithson Newlon, who died November 2, 1899. Mrs. Newlon passed from this life March 20, 1899. She was connected with some well known families, - her ancestors having come to this country in the seventeenth century, and, some of her family having taken an active part in the War of the Revolution.